How to Hold it Together in the Archival World

Keeping it TogetherRead the article Keeping It All Together: Paper Fasteners at the National Archives in the Prologue Magazine Blog about the dangers brought upon archived documents by the little (or large) clips and other common office supplies of this nature. But what are the archivally acceptable means of  “keeping it together”?

• First of all, make sure to carefully extract any and all of the existing clips and staples or remove rubber bands and threads. Smooth out the indentations and holes left by them and make sure there’s no  left over “debris”.Brass paper clips

• Although some Stainless Steel, Brass, Plastic and Binder Clips are perfectly ok for short term storage and handling, long term use of any of them might lead to contamination and/or physical damage to the important paper artifacts, ephemera and documents.adjustable rare book storage box

• For permanent archival storage of larger items, especially the more fragile ones, we recommend housing them individually rather than in groups. For example, Adjustable Rare Book Storage Boxes give you flexibility in terms of size and they do keep the item together by applying gentle but firm pressure on all sides. These kinds of items are best stored vertically, fully supported all around.

• Items of various materials, age and damage level should not be combined inside the same enclosure to avoid cross-contamination. However, individual documents can be contained and preserved by putting them into clear enclosures and then grouped together inside folders or envelopes

• The smaller groups of items should be placed inside strong, archivally safe boxes to preserve them from physical damage, dust, dirt and light, the archenemies of the aging paper. Moisture-resistant options are also available and provide an extra layer of protection, especially for natural disaster-prone areas.

Emancipation Proclamation Turns 150!

Although 150 is a respectable age for any document, a paper of such significance as Emancipation Proclamation deserves a special celebration for this milestone.

The 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation at the National Archives kicks off on December 30, 2012 with a rare (this only happens a few days a year) public viewing of the original official sealed manuscript. It will continue through January 24, 2013 with film viewings, performances and presentations. You can see the entire schedule here.

Preservation of the Proclamation is not easy. Printed on a poor quality machine-made paper, it has already sustained considerable damage from light and frequent handling, which is why it is so rarely on display. It has been carefully treated and the weak paper support has been mended and reinforced using the latest conservation techniques. The folio, which is folded and tied with a ribbon, has paper with an alkaline reserve placed behind (for possible acid-migration), then it is sealed between two layers of clear inert Mylar. When not on display, the framed document is placed in a four-flap folder, which goes inside a custom box, so it’s completely light and element safe.

Will You Be Our Archival Valentine?

valentine card archival storage and preservation university productsOn Valentine’s Day, let’s not forget about the Valentines themselves. Naturally, I’m talking about the cards, which besotted lovers exchanged for what seems like forever. In reality, the art of the Valentine Card migrated from England to the USA in the middle of 19th century, thanks to Esther Howland (1828–1904) of Worcester, Massachusetts.

valentine card archival storage and preservation university productsEsther was a daughter of a large book and stationary store owner, and after receiving a frilly Valentine card from one of her dad’s British associates, she began importing paper lace and floral decorations from England. She made dozens of hand-made card samples and with help from her salesman brother, got $5000 worth of orders on the first try. She developed and ran a very successful business, eventually becoming known throughout the US and is to this day called “The Mother of the American Valentine.”

archival quality valentine card memory albumWhether for sentimental reasons, because you are a serious collector, or just because you simply adore all the flowers, hearts and cupids, proper storage is the key to ensure that your beloved Valentines will last forever. University Products’ Oversize Memory Albums and Pages will protect and preserve the cards (or any other paper ephemera) while displaying them in an attractive and simple way. You can also choose from our many Museum Quality Boxes and/or Archival Storage Enclosures.

Also, for simple but effective advise on storage and preservation of your Private and Family Collections, we recommend Northeast Document Conservation Center’s excellent online resources.

Movie Poster Collecting

movie poster collectingAccording to the all-knowing Wikipedia, today, on November 28th in 1907, Louis B. Mayer (later on – the second “M” in the MGM motion picture studio conglomerate), opened his first movie theater in Haverhill, Massachusetts.

The movie business changed a lot since then, including the movie posters. In the times long before Facebook “like” buttons and endless TV commercials, posters were designed to intrigue vintage movie poster collecting and archival storagepotential customers and entice them to come and watch the new cinematic offering. Of course, they varied in quality and style, ranging from one-of-a-kind hand-pained masterpieces to kitschy colorful printed productions.  Movie poster collecting can be fun and rewarding, even if you don’t have any sentimental vintage movie poster collecting and archival storageattachment to the movies they represent. Vintage movie posters can benefit from being stored flat and protected by archivally safe enclosures and/or archival quality boxes. They can become fragile and brittle over time and some might require repair, using pressure sensitive Document Repair Tape, which is removable and gentle on paper.

You can learn more about movie posters and collecting them, as well as view some outstanding collections of vintage motion picture posters, lobby cards and rare photos online:
Movie Poster Collection at Library of Congress
Movie Posters and Prints at Collectors Weekly
WalterFilm Online Vintage Poster/Photo Museum